The Salt of the Earth

The reason the resurrection of Jesus is so important in Christianity is because it teaches we must be resurrected to a new life.  We are to die to our old nature but be alive to God.  What is this new life?

Alfred North Whitehead suggests that our “most precious instrument of progress [is] the impractical ethics of Christianity” which are a standard to test the defects of human society. [1]  This is not too far removed from Jesus’ concept of Christians being the salt of the earth.  However, by accepting a doctrine of salvation that involves only a belief system or a few actions we Christians have limited the transformation God has planned for our individual lives and we have missed an opportunity to transform the world.  The Christian community has become so wrapped up in the hereafter that they have forgotten God placed us on this earth for a reason: To change our soul to be like him and in the process to change the world in which we live.  And we should be fulfilling this purpose.

That God expects Christians to have an impact on this world is without question (Matthew 5:14-16).  However, as Alfred North Whitehead notes, since the end of the Middle Ages Christianity “became an instrument of conservation instead of an instrument of progress”, [2] abandoned this world to the devil and concentrated on heaven, [3] and as a result is in a period of decay which is demonstrated by the fact that it no longer directs the patterns of life of this world. [4]  Why is this so?  Most people have no motivation to investigate the claims of Christ unless they see something in someone’s life that impresses them.  Lee Strobel had heard of God and Christ and had not spent much time investigating because it seemed to him that God was just a product of wishful thinking.  He thought, from his cursory look, that Jesus was just another man and saw no reason to look further.  It was only when his wife became a Christian and he saw her transformed life that he began to investigate. [5]  The philosophers David Elton Trueblood and Bertrand Russell both state that reasons of the heart come before any use of logic. [6]  There must be a curiosity, a “want to”, there must be something that will motivate someone to spend the time to investigate a subject before one will gather the information necessary to make a decision.

So why are not people clamoring to know more about Christianity today?  Mahatma Gandhi was an admirer of Christ and applied many of the principles taught by Christ but he refused to become a Christian because so many Christians were so unlike Christ. [8]   The problem is that we as Christians do not acknowledge the central nature of the new life in our belief system.  We ignore what the Bible tells us about how we should live our lives; we have become more like the world than the world like us.

Let us imagine what it would be like if Christians actually believed that a new life was essential for our salvation.  We will use three examples:  Divorce, lawsuits between Christians, and the judgmental nature of Christians.  We will discuss these in the next three blogs.


[1]   Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas (New York:  The Free Press, 1961), p. 17.

[2]   Whitehead, p. 18.

[3]   Whitehead, p. 32.

[4]   Whitehead, p. 160.

[5]   Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1998), pp. 13-14.

[6]   See David Elton Trueblood, Philosophy of Religion (New York:  Harper & Row, 1957), p. 21 and Bertrand Russell, Mysticism and Logic (New York:  W. W. Norton & Company, 1929), p. 13.

[7]   Dibin Samuel, “Mahatma Gandhi and Christianity”, Christianity Today,

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